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More than three-quarters (77%) of new UK entrepreneurs admit to needing more support when starting out than they thought they would, according to new research by Virgin Money and Virgin StartUp.

The research reveals that access to funding, establishing the brand, finding their audience and staying open during Covid are all front of mind for entrepreneurs, whether they are established business owners or someone who is considering becoming their own boss. Additionally, more than one in three (36%) would-be entrepreneurs are concerned about what financial support is out there.

However, entrepreneurs in the UK are optimistic – with almost three quarters (74%) saying they feel more confident about the future. The economy bouncing back (45%), customers’ willingness to spend again (44%) and more demand for what their business offers (41%) were cited as key drivers of this increased confidence. But would-be entrepreneurs are feeling a bit more cautious, with almost a third (31%) planning on waiting beyond the next 12 months before setting up their new business.

The new research comes as Virgin Money begins working alongside Virgin StartUp, a not-for-profit organisation within the Virgin Group which focuses on supporting business founders in the UK with expert guidance, funding, and mentorship. This is the first joint business banking initiative by two Virgin companies, who are pooling their expertise to help more businesses start up and grow.

This support is coming at the right time, as Companies House data reveals 810,316 companies were incorporated between March 2020 and March 2021, an increase of 21.8% when compared with the previous 12 months. 2020 to 2021 saw the highest number of incorporations on record.

Gavin Opperman, Group Business Director, at Virgin Money said: “The pandemic has provided an opportunity for many people to take their passion and turn it into a full-time business, and we’re seeing more people starting out on the road to launch their business.

“That’s why we’ve joined forces with Virgin StartUp to offer the right support and guidance in key areas to help make people’s entrepreneurial dreams a reality. We are committed to working with business founders to ensure they not only survive but thrive, and we’re excited to see the difference we can make together.”

Linda Grant, Chair, Virgin StartUp said: “We know that the right support is vital for new businesses in those early days, yet many people underestimate how much help they will need. And there is also a pool of would-be entrepreneurs whose concerns may be holding them back from taking that next step and setting up – establishing their brand, finding their audience and access to funding are all areas they feel they need help with.

“At Virgin StartUp we understand the road to starting a business isn’t all plain sailing, and have a wealth of knowledge of experience in helping founders make their ideas a reality – it’s something we’ve been doing at Virgin for 50 years. By working alongside Virgin Money, we can offer this support to even more people who want to start up and scale.”

All Virgin Money business customers now have access to the expertise of Virgin StartUp. This includes free digital events designed to guide founders on specialist topics; free digital resources to tackle knowledge gaps; and discounted Masterclasses from renowned business leaders.

On 21 July, Virgin StartUp and Virgin Money will host a free event, ‘How to Start and Scale a Food and Drink Brand’, with Ben Branson, founder of Seedlip, Vivien Wong, co-founder of Little Moons, and COO of The Vurger Co., Neil Potts. This session is one of many specialist events designed to support founders across different industries. From early July, people will also be able to sign up for the first three Virgin StartUp Masterclasses, which will help founders build skills in Branding, Marketing and PR.

Businesses can find out more at: Link opens in a new window